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D. Velázquez

Diego Velázquez

Self-portrait of Velázquez
DETAILS OF THE PAINTER
Birth name: Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez.
Nationality: Spanish.
Year of birth: 1599, Seville.
Year of death: 1660, Madrid.
Styles: Baroque, tenebrism, naturalism.
Student of: Francisco Pacheco

Artist from the Baroque period (Spanish Golden Age), considered by many as the most talented painter of all time, his importance began to be recognized 2 centuries after his death. His most outstanding works are now part of the permanent collection of the Prado Museum, in Madrid.


Works of Velázquez

Today, approximately 130 paintings with certified authorship of Diego Velázquez are preserved, of which here we present the 22 most relevant ones. To purchase, access the store section Velázquez oil paintings.



  • "Las Meninas"
    Also known as: The Family of Philip IV
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Spanish Baroque
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Support: Canvas
    Dimensions: 318 x 276 cm.
    Year: 1656
    Located at: Prado Museum, Madrid

    A natural-sized multiple portrait, in which the central and main character is the Spanish Infanta Margarita Teresa of Austria (1651-1673), surrounded by: her maids known as "meninas", nobility personalities and Velázquez himself.

    It is one of the most studied works in history, today the main source of information comes from the writings of the treatise writer and painter Antonio Palomino (1655 - 1726), who analyzed in detail the symbolism, technique, history and characters of the painting.

    Three years later, he would paint a solo portrait of the infanta.


  • "The Feast of Bacchus"
    Also known as: "The Drunks"
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Genre: Mythological painting
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Support: Canvas
    Year: 1628
    Located at: Prado Museum, Madrid

    Bacchus, the Greek god of wine also known as Dionysus, is the protagonist of this canvas, commissioned by King Philip IV of Spain. The idea of creating a work with mythological theme arose from the admiration Velázquez held for Caravaggio's works, among other Italian paintings. The canvas was painted in Madrid and aims to present a fusion between the Greek "deities" (the three characters on the left) and the mundane (the five on the right).

    The importance of this work is that it marks a before and after in the painter's career, as it was Velázquez's first serious foray into the mythological genre, from which he would never stray until his last days.

    The skill in creating the multiple portrait was rescued from his years in Seville as an expert portraitist and religious genre painter, where he came to compose works of high complexity.

    The treatment of light on the protagonist and his companions highlights the main character, and provides magnificent contrasts of light and shadow to the others. Naturalism is combined with realism and the mythological concept. This mix gives the work a highly original character for its time.


  • "The Fable of Arachne"
    Also known as: "The Spinners"
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Genre: Literary allegory
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Support: Canvas
    Year: 1657
    Located at: Prado Museum, Madrid

    This, along with "Las Meninas", is considered the most complex work ever created by the artist, so much so that it has been subject to various interpretations throughout history, from simple views appreciating the aesthetics, considering the scene as part of a sewing workshop in a palace, to complex interpretations involving mythology and hidden symbolism.

    The composition unfolds on two levels of action, the first showing the movement of 5 spinners working, dressed in the style of the time. In the background, 5 enigmatic characters interact among themselves and observe a tapestry of cherubs.

    The technical execution, movement, and anatomy of the characters have been widely praised by countless artists throughout history.


  • "Adoration of the Magi"
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Genre: Religious painting
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Support: Canvas
    Year: 1619
    Located at: Prado Museum, Madrid

    A pictorial interpretation of the Christian tradition, the visit of the three wise men from the East to the Messiah born in Bethlehem of Judea.

    The composition features detailed work of shadows, and notable realism. It depicts Saint Joseph, the Virgin Mary, a shepherd, and the three magi adoring the child and bearing their respective gifts.

    Mary is presented as a beautiful young woman with a halo, looking at and holding the child in her lap. Saint Joseph appears as a rugged-faced man, gazing at his wife's expression, as if wondering: "What should we expect from here on?"

    The baby Jesus, with a cross-shaped halo and adult features, completely wrapped in cloth, alluding to the shroud that would envelop him on the day of his death.


  • "Portrait of Sebastián de Morra"
    Also known as: "The Jester El Primo"
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Genre: Portrait
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Support: Canvas
    Year: circa 1645
    Located at: Prado Museum, Madrid

    During his career, Velázquez produced numerous portraits of dwarf jesters, this one being considered the most brilliant of the theme. The technical characteristics, colors, lighting, and anatomical description approach perfection.

    Another famous portrait of a dwarf is the child of Vallecas.


  • "Apostle’s Head"
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Genre: Portrait
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Support: Canvas
    Year: circa 1620
    Located at: Prado Museum, Madrid

    A portrait featuring notable work of chiaroscuro, presenting the face of an apostle. It is not exactly known which biblical character it is, but it is known that it is neither Saint Thomas nor Saint Paul, as it is presumed that the original canvas (before being cut) already included these two saints.

    Experts are not 100% certain of the authorship of the canvas, however, the characteristics of the painting can be attributed with little margin of error to the style that the painter developed between the years 1619 and 1620.


  • "Head of a Deer"
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Support: Canvas
    Year: Circa 1631
    Located at: Prado Museum, Madrid

    Animal portrait, although its authorship is not 100% confirmed, most experts agree that the brushstrokes and the technique employed coincide with the painter's style.


  • "The Coronation of the Virgin"
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Genre: Allegory
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Support: Canvas
    Year: circa 1644
    Located at: Prado Museum, Madrid

    Considered one of the artist's most outstanding religious paintings. Its exact origin of place and date is unclear, but the style infers that it was created between 1635 and 1644.

    In the upper part are the three persons of the Christian Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, crowning the Virgin Mary who remains seated on the clouds, with rays of sun and cherubs fluttering around.


  • "Christ in the House of Martha and Mary"
    Title (English): Christ in the House of Martha and Mary
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Genre: Biblical scene
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Support: Canvas
    Year: 1618
    Located at: National Gallery, London

    A biblical scene belonging to the first artistic period of Velázquez. As often occurs in Baroque painting, the main scene appears in the background, where Jesus is seen speaking with the sisters Martha and Mary. The characters in the foreground, the old woman and the servant, do not belong to the gospel text.

    50 years later, J. Vermeer painted his own version of the biblical passage.


  • "The Crucified Christ"
    Also known as: "Christ of San Plácido"
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Genre: Religious art
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Support: Canvas
    Year: 1632
    Located at: Prado Museum, Madrid

    Considered one of the most noble paintings of Christ crucified in history, it is recognized as a masterpiece of male anatomy and has inspired numerous literary and pictorial works.

    The work depicts the naked body of Jesus, presumably already deceased, indicated by the inclination of the head, the tension of the arms, and the pallor of the skin. The posture is especially gentle, the body is composed with the most beautiful proportions of the time, learned from his master Francisco Pacheco.


  • "Vulcan's Forge"
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Genre: Mythological painting
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Support: Canvas
    Year: 1630
    Located at: Prado Museum, Madrid

    One of the artist's most elaborate works, and the first where he dealt with a mythological theme.

    The canvas shows the Greek god Apollo visiting the forge run by the god Vulcan, who is astonished at Apollo's words.

    The composition and finely achieved anatomical proportions are characteristic of the Italian school, learned by Velázquez during his stay in Rome.


  • "The Fountain of the Tritons in the Island Garden, Aranjuez"
    Author: Workshop of Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Genre: Landscape, costumbrismo
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Support: Canvas
    Year: 1657
    Located at: Prado Museum.

    Rural landscape with "The Triton Fountain," which still exists today, made of marble, located on the side of the Royal Palace of Madrid.

    The canvas shows the monument in a countryside lighting, with leafy trees in the background and dry land on the path. The passersby seem to be enjoying a leisure day. The composition is simple and centered on the fountain, considered in the costumbrismo genre.


  • "Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress"
    Title (English): Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Genre: Portrait
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Support: Canvas
    Dimensions: 127 x 107 cm.
    Year: 1659
    Located at: Art History Museum of Vienna

    This is one of the artist's most well-known solo portraits, depicting Infanta Margarita Teresa, the protagonist of the canvas Las Meninas, whom he painted on numerous occasions from her early childhood until the age of 8.


  • The Boy from Vallecas (Francisco Lezcano)
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Genre: Costumbrista Portrait
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Support: Canvas
    Dimensions: 107 x 83 cm.
    Year: circa 1640
    Located at: Prado Museum, Madrid

    A dwarf who worked as a jester in the court of Prince Baltasar Carlos, also suffered from mental health issues, diagnosed at that time as oligophrenia.

    Sitting in a countryside setting with a coast, lies the Child of Vallecas, with an air of nonchalance, almost defiant, in his hands he holds what appears to be a deck of cards, a figure of his way of life. The expression and points of interest (face and hands) are masterfully illuminated.

    The disabilities that Velázquez was accustomed to painting, raise a moral controversy to this day, with much debate over whether the artist seeks to humanize and dignify, or conversely, whether this type of portrait implies a disdain for the disabled.

    Another portrait of a jester is Don Sebastián de Morra.


  • "Equestrian Portrait of Prince Balthasar Charles"
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Genre: Equestrian Portrait
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Support: Canvas
    Dimensions: 209 x 173 cm.
    Year: 1635
    Located at: Prado Museum, Madrid

    Portrait of a child with a horse, Prince Baltasar Carlos (1629-1646), son of Philip IV. The painting aimed to promote the authority of the future king, who already posed in the style of his father and grandfather. Hence the scepter in the right hand and the military attire, even as a child.

    The background landscape indicates that the character is in El Pardo (a district of Madrid). The view is directed towards the mountains of the Sierra del Hoyo de Manzanares.


  • "The Surrender of Breda"
    Also known as: "The Lances"
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Genre: Military Scene
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Support: Canvas
    Dimensions: 307 x 367 cm.
    Year: 1635
    Located at: Prado Museum, Madrid

    A historic military moment that represents the victory of the Spanish army of Philip IV over the landowners in the Netherlands. The friendly gesture of the characters denotes the terms on which the dispute was settled: a surrender considered honorable by Spain.


  • "Philip IV of Spain"
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Genre: Portrait
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Support: Canvas
    Year: Circa 1653
    Located at: Prado Museum, Madrid

    Philip IV (1605-1665) was the monarch most frequently portrayed by Velázquez. This particular work depicts the King at 52 years of age and is one of the most recognized for its clean composition, realism, and liveliness.

    By the same author, an almost identical painting is located at the National Gallery in London.


  • "saints-anthony-abbot-paul-hermit"
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Genre: Religious Painting
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Medium: Canvas
    Dimensions: 261 x 192.5 cm.
    Year: circa 1634
    Located at: Prado Museum, Madrid

    Pictorial composition depicting three scenes from "The Golden Legend" by Italian bishop Jacobus de Voragine (1230-1298).

    Saint Anthony is dressed in brown and Saint Paul in white, with a raven above them bringing their daily food. In the background on both sides, scenes involving the same characters; on the left, the burial of Saint Paul with the help of a lion, and on the right, the moment when the saint is found dead in a prayer position.


  • "Tavern Scene with Two Men and a Girl"
    Title (English): "The Lunch" or "Luncheon"
    Also known as: "The Lunch"
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Tenebrist Baroque
    Genre: Genre Scene
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Medium: Canvas
    Dimensions: 108.5 x 102 cm.
    Year: circa 1617
    Located at: Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg

    A work of Sevillian genre scene where the artist depicts three men of different generations cheerfully sharing a table. In the shadows, a servant pours wine to continue the evening.


  • "Three Musicians"
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Medium: Canvas
    Dimensions: 87 x 110 cm.
    Year: 1618
    Located at: Berlin Gemäldegalerie

    A genre scene where the author highlights the sordid nature of the situation: set in Seville, the youngest man, with a mocking expression, holds a glass of wine, indicating that the three musicians have already indulged. The two characters on the right handle their instruments loosely and play what seems to be discordant music.

    The preservation of the painting is exceptional; it still retains its colors, figures, and lighting almost unchanged.


  • "The Toilet of Venus ('The Rokeby Venus')"
    Also known as: "The Rokeby Venus" or "The Toilet of Venus"
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Genre: Mythological Painting
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Medium: Canvas
    Dimensions: 122.5 x 177 cm.
    Year: circa 1649
    Located at: National Gallery, London

    This is the only known female nude by Velázquez, painted for private use to avoid any moral controversy.

    In Greek mythology, Venus is the goddess of beauty, hence the image reflects the painter's concept of the ultimate female bodily beauty. Venus is depicted in a graceful pose, lying on sheets and looking back at the viewer through a mirror held by her son Cupid.


  • "An Old Woman Cooking Eggs"
    Title (English): Old Woman Frying Eggs
    Author: Diego Velázquez
    Style: Baroque
    Genre: Genre Scene
    Type: Painting
    Technique: Oil
    Medium: Canvas
    Year: 1618
    Located at: National Gallery of Scotland

    This is one of the artist's earliest formal works. Considered a still life, it features a great variety of materials and textures: boiling oil, a bronze mortar, fabrics, vegetables, stains, wood, metals, ceramics, and wicker. These were probably included by the artist's eagerness to showcase his talent.

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